Harry Houdini, magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film
producer noted for his sensational escape acts, is born Erik Weisz in Budapest,
Hungary. (Though Houdini claimed in interviews to have been born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on April 6,
1874.) In 1987 Disney aired the film Young Harry Houdini (starring Will Wheaton) as part of their recently
relaunched "Disney Sunday Movie" on ABC-TV. The film told the story of the "lost years" of young Erik Weisz.
Disney Store North America announces that it is expanding into the retail outlet arena and will officially open its first outlet location in New York at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.
Legendary Disney animator, pioneer and mechanical genius Ub Iwerks is born Ubbe Ert Iwwerks in Kansas City, Missouri. (His unusual name is of Dutch origin.) First meeting in 1919, Iwerks and Walt Disney created their first animated cartoon character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1927 for Universal Pictures. Later becoming Walt's right hand man in the creation of the early Mickey Mouse cartoons, Iwerks animated the first Mickey Mouse silent cartoon, Plane Crazy, entirely by himself. (Iwerks was known for his fast work at drawing and animation and his wacky sense of humor.) He later developed many special visual effects for such features as Song of the South and Mary Poppins. Iwerks also worked at WED Enterprises, now Walt Disney Imagineering, helping to develop many Disney theme park attractions during the 1960s. He was named a Disney Legend in 1989 (18 years after his death at the age of 70).
French novelist Jules Verne, author of such classics as From the Earth
to the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in
80 Days, passes at age 77 in France. In his stories, Verne predicted the use of
hydrogen as an energy source and many future modern conveniences and technological
inventions such as skyscrapers, submarines, helicopters, and airplanes! Often referred to as
the "Father of Science Fiction," Verne's work greatly inspired many, including Walt Disney.
Disney adapted many of Verne's stories into films, such as In Search of the Castaways (1962), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), and most famously 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
There was even a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage attraction at the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World from 1971 through 1994. There was also a Submarine Voyage attraction at Disneyland starting in 1959 - but it was not themed to the famous story. Disneyland did have a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
walkthrough attraction for a short time when the film was released.
The former Circle-Vision 360° film/attraction The Timekeeper, which was presented at three Disney parks around the world, featured Jules Verne (played by French actor Michel Piccoli).
Today there is an updated version of a 20,000 Leagues walkthrough attraction called Les Mystères du Nautilus (French for "The Mysteries of the Nautilus") at Disneyland Paris in France. Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain (formerly known as Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune) is an indoor/outdoor steel roller coaster in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris. It was originally themed around Verne's classic 1865 novel "From the Earth to the Moon," when the attraction first opened in 1995.
Mysterious Island, a "port-of-call" (or themed land) located at Tokyo DisneySea in the Tokyo Disney Resort features a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. (It is loosely based on Verne's tale.) The land is a recreation of the fictitious one in the novel, "The Mysterious Island," which serves as Captain Nemo's lair. It is also known as Vulcania Island, as featured in the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The documentary short Jules Verne & Walt Disney: Explorers of the Imagination was released in 2003. It was a bonus extra included on the second disc of the two part "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Special Edition DVD".
Classically trained ballerina-turned-choreographer Onna White is born in Inverness,
Nova Scotia, Canada. Her Disney credits includes the 1977 musical feature Pete's Dragon.
Disney's Alice comedy film Alice Solves the Puzzle premieres at the
Rivoli Theater in New York City.
Disney's Silly Symphony Easter-themed cartoon Funny Little Bunnies is released.
An Academy Award in the Short Subjects/Two Reels category is won by
Disney's True-Life Adventure film Seal Island, at the 21st annual event (held at
the Academy Theatre in Los Angeles). Mickey and the Seal and Tea for Two
are both edged out by MGM's The Little Orphan for Short Subjects, Cartoon.
Actor Robert Carradine - Sam McGuire on Disney's TV sitcom Lizzie McGuire - is
born in San Mateo, California. Carradine also plays the part of Maxwell Dwebb in
Disney's 1988 TV presentation Totally Minnie.
Actress Donna Pescow, who portrayed Eileen Stevens - the mother on Disney Channel's
Even Stevens, is born in Brooklyn, New York. She also appeared on an episode of
That's So Raven. (Movie fans will know her as Annette from the 1977 hit Saturday Night Fever.)
At Disneyland, the Astro-Jets open for business in Tomorrowland. A forerunner of today’s Astro Orbitor, Astro-Jets will close in 1966.
The TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs part 2 of the feature film Kidnapped.
The animated series Disney's House of Mouse debuts the 10th episode "Donald's Lamp Trade."
Randy Newman's "If I Didn't Have You" - from Disney's Monsters, Inc. - is
awarded an Oscar for Best Song at the 2001 Academy Awards (held at
the Kodak Theatre). After 15 nominations, it is Newman's first Oscar win! Although
nominated for Best Animated Picture, Monsters, Inc. is edged out by Shrek.
Starting this day, the El Capitan Theatre presents Piglet's Big Movie.
Business Week magazine publishes an image of Disney's Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket characters for an article about lying on applications to business schools.
Actress Miley Cyrus (the 13-year-old daughter of actor & singer Billy
Ray Cyrus) stars on Disney Channel's Hannah Montana with the debut
episode "Lily, Do You Want To Know a Secret?". Miley plays 14-year-old Miley
Stewart/Hannah Montana, who leads a double life. She lives with her older
brother and widower father (played by her real-life dad Billy Ray).
Also debuting on Disney Channel is the original movie Cow Belles - starring
Alyson Michalka and Amanda Michalka, better known as sister musical duo Aly & AJ.
Disney's new Broadway musical Tarzan gives its very first
preview performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
The show officially opens May 10.
Stay Alive, co-produced by Hollywood Pictures, is released to theaters. A group of
teenagers decide to pass idle time by playing an online game that has a horror theme. But the action taking place on their computer screens becomes a terrifying reality when they realize that each time a character dies during the
game, the figure's human overseer dies as well! The cast includes Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz,
and Sophia Bush.
Mercury Records releases the official soundtrack to Disney's live-action feature Meet The Deedles.
CMH Records releases Heigh Ho Banjo: Bluegrass Salutes Favorite Disney Songs.
Disney's Donald Duck short Crazy Over Daisy is released. Directed by Jack Hannah, when Donald attempts to get revenge on the chipmunks for wrecking his bike on his trip to Daisy’s house... she scolds him for his cruel conduct! The voice cast includes Clarence Nash (as Donald) and Gloria Blondell (as Daisy).
Among the Annie Awards presented (by
the Los Angeles branch of the
International Animated Film Association,
ASIFA-Hollywood) each year, is the
Ub Iwerks Award - given to individuals or
companies for technical advancements
that make a significant impact on the art
or industry of animation. Past recipients
of this award include Dr. Ed Catmull for
his breakthrough technologies at Pixar
and Eric Daniels for the development
of the 'Deep Canvas' process for Walt
Disney's Tarzan. In 1978, Iwerks
was posthumously awarded
ASIFA-Hollywood's highest honor,
the Winsor McCay Award.
The Sword in the Stone becomes the fourth "Walt Disney Classic" to be released on
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards an Oscar (Scientific or
Technical) to Disney's David Spencer for the development of an animation photo
transfer process. Spencer perfected the Animation Photo Transfer (APT), a technique for transferring the
animators' art onto cels, in 1985. An artists' image is transferred wholesale onto the cel through a photo-negative
process. Chemicals then remove the ink from the non-exposed areas. The process saves a great deal of time and
work hours. Disney first applied the process to its 1985 film The Black Cauldron.
The much anticipated 5-disc set Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair is finally released. A rare behind-the-scenes look at Walt Disney's contribution to the Fair, it includes a 24-page full color booklet and more than three hours of recordings from the classic attractions and exhibits designed by Disney.
Olympic Night at Disneyland raises $600,000 to benefit the
United States Olympic Team.
"He (Ub Iwerks) was a great guy. I don't think there was a dishonest bone in his body. But he was a tremendous dreamer ... a tremendous inventor." -animator Grim Natwick
The television series Herbie The Love Bug airs episode #2 - "Herbie to the Rescue."
Disneyland's version of the Country Bear Jamboree opens in Bear Country. Sponsored
first by Pepsi Cola, it is the second version of the attraction (as the first opened in WDW in October 1971). The attraction is a stage show with audio-animatronic figures. Most of the characters are bears who perform country music. Disneyland's Country Bear Jamboree will run until September 9, 2001. The new Bear Country (Disneyland's 7th themed land) also debuts Mile Long Bar (a western-themed eatery), Teddi Barra's Swingin' Arcade, and Ursus H. Bear's Wilderness Outpost. Bear Country will be renamed Critter Country in 1988.
Animator, filmmaker, and voice actor Tony Leondis is born in New York City.
Starting his career as a story artist, he worked on Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998) as a character designer. He later joined DisneyToon Studios, where he co-wrote the script for Kronk's New Groove before making
his directorial debut on Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch in 2005.
The Wildest Show in the Wilderness!
Engineer James Endler passes away at the age of 82 in New York City. He helped manage
some of the biggest construction projects of the 1970s, '80s and '90s, including the World Trade Center in New York
City, Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michgan. He also
worked on Disneyland Paris for Lehrer McGovern Bovis, an international construction management firm.
United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant-Drill Instructor-turned-actor
R. Lee Ermey is born Ronald Lee Ermey in Emporia, Kansas. Often typecast for
the roles of authority figures, Ermey provided the voice of Sarge for Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy
Story 3. His Disney voice credits also include Fillmore!, Recess: School's Out, and Buzz Lightyear
of Star Command: The Adventure Begins. (You may recognize Ermey from his appearances in such
feature films as Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket and from a series of popular car insurance television commercials.)
This Day in Disney History - THE FIRST - THE ORIGINAL
Traveling in time since 1999!
"Disney Magic on Parade," running at Disneyland Paris since April 2012, gives its
final performance as does "Disney Dreams!," a nighttime spectacular (which will be
replaced by "Disney Illuminations").
The 80th and final episode of Disney Channel's sitcom Liv and Maddie: Cali Style
airs with the show "End-a-Rooney." First debuting in 2013, the comedy was first titled Liv and Maddie.
The western adventure fantasy film Tall Tale is released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Legendary American folk heroes come to life as young Daniel Hackett, played by Nick Stahl, embarks on a quest to
save his father's farm from a greedy land baron, played by Scott Glenn. The cast also includes Patrick Swayze as
Pecos Bill, Oliver Platt as Paul Bunyan, and Roger Aaron Brown as John Henry.
The 69th Academy Awards take place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
-Best Original Song: "You Must Love Me" from Evita (Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice)
"We are all, in one way or another, the children of Jules Verne." -Ray Bradbury
Filmmaker, theatre director, screenwriter, and playwright Stuart Gordon passes away at age 72 in California. With Brian Yuzna and writer Ed Naha, he co-created Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for Disney Studios and executive produced the sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Gordon also directed Touchstone's 1998
The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.
Disney+ is launched in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.
Actress Alyson Hannigan is born in Washington, D.C. Known as the voice of Claire Clancy in the Disney Junior animated series Fancy Nancy (starting in 2018), she also provided the voice for Ann Possible in the 2019 TV movie Kim Possible. Hannigan is best known for her roles as Willow Rosenberg in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Lily Aldrin in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014), and Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie film series (1999–2012).
The 31st Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards are held in California.
Among the winners:
-Favorite Animated Movie: Coco
-Favorite Female Artist: Demi Lovato
Dick Kinney, an animator and comic book writer, passes away at age 68 in California. As an animation writer, Kinney was part of the story crew on various Disney shorts such as Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip (1940), Hockey Homicide (1945), and Chip an' Dale (1947). His comic book work was mostly in Disney comics, writing stories featuring Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck. (His brother Jack Kinney also worked for Disney as an animator, storyman and director.)
Cartoon story artist, animator and director Cal Howard is born in California. Working for several pioneer animators like Walter Lantz, Max Fleischer and Ub Iwerks, Howard worked for a short time at Disney as an in-betweener and a story artist. This was followed by employment at MGM and Screen Gems. Many years later he returned to comic book work as a story editor for Walt Disney Publications (in 1974). In 1980, he received the Annie Award for lifetime achievement for his work in animation. Howard retired 6 years later.
Disney CEO Michael Eisner and French prime minister Jacques Chirac sign the Euro Disney protocol to bring the new Disneyland Resort Paris to France.
Actor, screenwriter and director Robert Culp passes at age 79 in California. He played Chet Loomis in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color episode "Sammy, the Way-Out Seal", Calvin Bryson in the 1974 adventure film The Castaway Cowboy, and Businessman in the 1996 comedy film Spy Hard. He also voiced Halcyon Renard in the animated TV series Gargoyles. (Culp first earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy, a 1960s espionage television series in which co-star Bill Cosby and he played secret agents. Later in his career, Culp had a recurring role as Warren Whelan on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.)
Actress Jessica Walter passes away at age 80 in New York City. Appearing in over 170 film, television, and stage productions, she can be heard in 9 episodes of Disney's Star vs. the Forces of Evil as Miss Heinous / Meteora Butterfly.